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“Game changer” for the sector: First cannabis company expected to list on LSE next month

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Founder and CEO of Kanabo, Avihu Tamir

Kanabo, an Israeli medicinal cannabis company, is expecting to become the first cannabis firm to list on the London Stock Exchange.  

On the condition that all FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) requirements are met, the company is expecting the IPO (initial public offering) to take place in February this year.

The company finished a two-week virtual roadshow [a series of presentations made to investors ahead of an IPO] on Friday.

Speaking to Cannabis Health, founder and CEO, Avihu Tamir revealed that the it had an over-subscription almost 300 percent higher than its £3.2 million target.

“Everyone was telling me ‘it’s not the US, it’s not Canada, people don’t understand cannabis here. British people are more cautious, more conservative, it will be more challenging’,” Tamir said.

“Perhaps the questions that were asked were different than the questions that you would be asked when meeting US investors – maybe the knowledge base was a bit lower, but other than that interest and the understanding of the potential of the market was totally there.

“Now, what we’re doing this week is sending emails to people to say sorry, but they can only invest half of what they were planning to.”

Kanabo founder, Avihu Tamir

Kanabo, based in Tel Aviv, has developed the world’s first medicinal cannabis vapourising device, which delivers a metered dose of cannabis extract.

Smoking cannabis flower is a popular administration method for those suffering with chronic pain, however it gives a different dose on every inhale which prevents medical professionals from accepting smoking as a medicinal delivery method.

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Kanabo’s VapePod, which can deliver a metered dose has already had initial sales in a pilot in the UK and Germany. They are expecting that the CE mark for the second generation medical device will be given in the first or second quarter of this year.

In Israel, approvals for the device are in the final stages. The vapourising device, which ensures the controlled application of cannabis-based medicines, is approved for use in hospitals and the company has recently embarked on a clinical trial to demonstrate bioavailability and safety.

Up until recently, regulations surrounding the public listing of cannabis firms has been unclear. However, since the FCA released a set of rules in September 2020, cannabis companies were quick to set things in motion.

MGC Pharmaceuticals, which develops and produces phytocannabinoid medications, and Emmac, one of Europe’s largest cannabis firms, are also in the race to list on the stock market in 2021.

Tamir is confident, however, that Kanabo will be the first to hit the milestone.

“It’s more than reasonable that we will be the first, but I do hope we won’t be the only ones,” Tamir said.

“Part of pushing the industry forward is having more and I hope others, like MGC and Emmac, will join very soon.

“Once they [other companies] see the listing, they will start approaching the LSE. Suddenly the UK is a relevant market.

“There is a process of usually six months for doing the listing and the prospectus, so the next peak of companies coming into the LSE will probably be in six months to eight months’ time.”

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Tamir believes the IPO (initial public offering) will be a “game changer” for the cannabis industry, which is predicted to be worth billions in Europe by the end of the decade.

“Once you have the public market in a certain country being opened up, you suddenly see the shift in how the cannabis industry is being perceived by decision makers,” Tamir added.

“Once you start to see these [cannabis] companies going to a public market, everything changes and the discussion is different; suddenly […] it’s a legitimate business, it is not a drug anymore. It is a medicine.

“We all know that alcohol and tobacco are not healthy, but they’re totally legitimised because it’s a business. And that’s the change; its the shift in the mindset of decision making. If they think of it as a public company, it’s respectable, it’s something real.”

Epilepsy

CBGA may be ‘more potent’ than CBD against seizures in Dravet syndrome

Dr Lyndsey Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

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Dravet Syndrome: A row of test tubes containing CBGA oil with a doctors white gloved hand holding one up to the light

Scientists say they have found the ‘Mother of all cannabinoids’ which may help to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome.

A new study on mice from the University of Sydney found that three acidic cannabinoids found in cannabis reduced seizures in Dravet syndrome, an intractable form of childhood epilepsy.

The three cannabinoids are cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabidivarinic acid (CBDVA), cannabigerovarinic acid (CBGVA). All three but CBGA in particular “may contribute to the effects of cannabis-based products in childhood epilepsy” noted the researchers and were found to potentially have ‘anticonvulsant properties.”

The study marks the first time that three acidic cannabinoids were found to potentially help reduce seizures for Dravet syndrome.

Speaking with Cannabis Health News, the lead author of the study, Dr Lyndsey Anderson, said: “We found that CBGA exhibited both anticonvulsant and pro-convulsant effects. CBGA was more potent than CBD against febrile seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We also found that a combination of CBGA and clobazam was more effective than either treatment alone. Additionally, we found that CBGA was anticonvulsant in the maximal electroshock acute seizure model, a model for generalized tonic-clonic seizures.”

She added: “CBGA did, however, present some proconvulsant effects. The frequency of spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome was increased with a high dose of CBGA. Also, CBGA was proconvulsant in the 6-Hz acute seizure model, a model of focal, psychomotor seizures.”

Although CBGA shows promise, Dr Anderson also stressed that it needs more research before it can replace CBD. She cautioned that Dravet syndrome patients may still need to proceed with caution.

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“Artisanal cannabis-based products are believed to reduce seizures in Dravet syndrome patients,” she said. “As these oils contain rare cannabinoids like CBGA, it is possible CBGA then contributes to the anticonvulsant effects of these artisanal cannabis oils. However, there were proconvulsant effects observed with CBGA, suggesting that Dravet syndrome patients may need to proceed with caution. The proconvulsant liability of CBGA would need to be addressed before it replaced CBD as an anticonvulsant.”

What is CBGA?

Sometimes referred to as ‘the mother of all cannabinoids,’ CBGA is the precursor molecule to many different cannabinioids including CBD and THC. It is thought to help some diseases such as colon cancer, metabolic disease and cardiovascular disease. It is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid much like CBD.

Dr Anderson explains that more research is needed to explain how the three cannabinoids work together.

“We don’t know how they work together yet,” she said. “We found that CBGA, CBDVA and CBGVA were all individually anticonvulsant against thermally induced seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. We did not investigate whether a combination of these three cannabinoids would result in a greater anticonvulsant effect than either cannabinoid alone. Future work will definitely explore this possibility.”  

CBGA future research

This isn’t the end of the research into CBGA for Dravet Syndrome. Dr Anderson said there is more to explore when it comes to creating more treatment options for Dravet syndrome.

 

She said: “Next on the horizon for this research is to explore whether the anticonvulsant properties of CBDVA and CBGVA translate to other seizure types including spontaneous seizures in the mouse model of Dravet syndrome. Additionally, we have extensively interrogated the anticonvulsant potential of individual cannabinoids and identified ten with anticonvulsant properties.”

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“We are now interested in investigating what happens when we combine these anticonvulsant properties. It remains an open possibility that greater anticonvulsant effects are achieved when the cannabinoids are administered in combination.”

The study was recently published in the British Journal of Pharmacology (DOI: 10.1111/bph.15661)

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New York regulators vote to allow home grow for medical cannabis patients

The new regulations would allow medical cannabis patients and carers in the state a safe, cost-effective way to access their medication

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New York: The statue of Liberty against a blue sky and the skyline of New York city

The proposed regulations would allow medical cannabis patients and carers in New York to grow up to six plants, indoors or outdoors, for therapeutic use.

New York cannabis regulators voted unanimously for the proposed regulations which would not only allow qualified patients to grow their own plants.

According to a slide from the Cannabis Control Board presentation, patients would be allowed six plants each but carers with more than one patient,  can “cultivate 1 additional cannabis plant for each subsequent patient.”

The new regulations would impose a duty on patients to ensure no one under the age of 21 can access the plants or any products cultivated from them.

Landlords would also have the option to prohibit their tenants from growing cannabis on their property if they chose. The products must not be processed using anything other than alcohol.

The regulations will now have a 60-day public commentary period before review.

Tremaine Wright, chair of the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) said: “We are proud to present those proposed regulations. The home cultivation of medical cannabis will provide certified patients with a cost-effective means of obtaining cannabis through personal cultivation while creating a set of standards governing the conduct and activities relating to the personal cultivation of cannabis.”

In a press release, the CCB also gave an update on the expungement of cannabis convictions. “Approximately 203,000 cannabis-related charges are presently being suppressed from criminal background searches and are in process of being expunged, adding to the approximately 198,000 records that were expunged as part of the first round of cannabis expungement following legislation enacted in 2019.”

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New York recreational market

Earlier this year, New York. It would become the 16th US state to legalise recreational cannabis creating thousands of jobs and tax revenue. The bill was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in March.

The law would allow for possession of up to three ounces of marijuana for personal use. It would allow licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis products to those over 21.

Neighbouring states who have already legalised marijuana, including New Jersey and Massachusetts, meant that New York citizens were leaving to access cannabis losing tax revenue in the process.

It is expected that home grow for recreational users will follow the proposed regulations for medical cannabis patients but only after the new market is established.

Read more: California governor signs Ryan’s Law to allow medical cannabis use in hospitals

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Grow Pharma to launch own-brand cannabis flower

Grow Pharma launches own-brand products to improve accessibility of prescribed cannabis medicines

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Grow Group recently completed acquisition of a major cultivation and extraction facility located in Spain

Grow Pharma has announced it will launch its own range of medical cannabis flowers to improve accessibility of prescribed cannabis medicines.

Leading supplier of prescribed cannabis medicines, Grow Pharma, announced today the launch of their own brand of medical cannabis flowers for UK patients.

This will start with a mid-range THC sativa and a balanced-ratio hybrid with a third, indica flower, to follow in the coming weeks.

The UK medical cannabis market is still in its infancy, with many patients now receiving prescribed medical cannabis, since moving  to regulated, safer and legally prescribed products with medical oversight of their treatment.

Grow Pharma new cannabis products

Many of these patients have a broad knowledge of the cannabis plant and its active ingredients and are very often used to certain cultivars (strains) that are providing the best relief for their symptoms. In order to cater for both these “experienced” patients and for the other side of the coin; the “cannabis naïve” patients, Grow Pharma aims to have the broadest possible range of cannabis medicines available for doctors and patients.

Towards that aim Grow recently launched capsules and is constantly looking into new modes of administration. Soon the company will launch medical cannabis vape (oil) pens with their partner, Columbia Care, who also introduced the capsules.

The launch of the Grow flower medicines fits this narrative. The cultivars and cannabinoid ratios will be in addition to Grow’s range of premium branded products from Aurora and Tilray, further increasing the options available for patients. 

Pricing is moderate and will allow patients to use only these products or combine premium brands with Grow’s own quality brand to create the optimal symptom management for patients who have exhausted other pharmaceutical options or are suffering too many side effects from these medications. 

Grow’s focus on patients also means that, as with the other brands, there is a consistent and sustainable supply of these products via their pharmacy partners, IPS Pharma.

Grow and IPS already represent world-renowned producers of medical cannabis Aurora, Tilray and Columbia Care and recently signed an agreement with ALT to bring their liquid medical cannabis products to Europe early next year.

Grow Pharma

Grow has the broadest range of cannabis medicines in the UK, with 20 flower and 25 oil medicines, including these new additions, as well as the capacity to formulate oils with bespoke ratios of THC and CBD where required. They are also the only UK supplier to stock a range of hard-shell medical cannabis capsules, manufactured locally for USA producer Columbia Care.

“Cannabis medicines are so personal to the individual patient; this is why it’s important for us to ensure doctors have a wide-range of options to choose from when treating patients,” commented GROW’s patient access lead and prominent medical cannabis advocate, Alex Fraser.

“We already have the widest range prior to the addition of the GROW Flowers, but we felt we needed to offer more options alongside the flower ranges we stock from  Aurora and Tilray, to ensure that even more patients can benefit from these medicines and the fast and efficient pharmacy service IPS provide.

With prescription numbers for cannabis medicines in the UK increasing month-on-month and more doctors entering the space, it is no surprise to see a company like Grow launching its own brand.

However, GROW CEO Pierre Van Weperen stated: “One of the things that makes us the supplier of choice for doctors prescribing cannabis medicines is that we provide a wide range from multiple leading producers. This means the doctors we support can make the best decisions for their patients and we can ensure consistency in the supply of patient’s medicines.

“We continue to see enormous benefit of supplying medicines from multiple reputable producers. The globally leading brands are all working with us and together we are all working on driving access for patients to these products. There are several hundred thousand UK patients out there who would potentially benefit from these cannabis medicines. The introduction of our GROW flowers brand will only strengthen our broad offering and these efforts”.

Grow Pharma’s parent company Grow Group recently completed an acquisition of Sanoid Isolates, a major cultivation and extraction facility located in Seville, Spain where Grow intends to breed unique cultivars and produce new medicines based on the needs of doctors and patients.

Doctors can find information on the medicines GROW supplies by contacting them directly or by signing up to the recently launched HCP Portal where they can also speak privately to other doctors in the field and find out about the latest educational events on medical cannabis for healthcare professionals.

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